Should You be Using a Different SPF Sun Cream at an Outdoor Event than at the Beach

There's no doubt sun protection cream is important. When you need to spend a long period outside, daily sun protection is a must. It doesn't matter if it's in the heart of summer or during the coldest winter days.

In both situations, the sun can do damage to your skin through the absorption of harmful UV rays. It's why you see people use beach sun protection before laying on the sand. It's also why skiers lather their faces before they hit the slopes.


No matter if it's at the beach, in the mountains, or a picnic in the park, a lot of people have one important question on their mind when it comes to sun protection cream. What SPF are they supposed to use? It depends on the situation. Here's a breakdown.

Beach Protection

You want to use a beach sun protection that is SPF 50 if you intend to visit the lake or ocean. This type of lotion or spray protects you from 98 percent of the harmful UV rays.

UV rays are absorbed directly into your skin when you decide to get lay out for a tan. SPF 50 protection blocks most of the harmful components while it continues to provide healthy elements. The main one being the generation of Vitamin D.

In the lake or ocean, the sun's rays come from two directions. One is directly onto your skin. The other is a reflection from the water. Therefore, the SPF in your sun protection cream works double duty to remove the rays' harmful effects.

Picnic Protection

At a park or other grassy area, an SPF of 15 or 30 is adequate. However, those with sensitive skin want to still use SPF 50. In other words, they should use the same category as they would apply for daily sun protection.

It comes down to where you hold the picnic. If there are a mix of shady and sunny areas, a lower SPF can be used as you'll probably switch from one area to another. However, a space without shady areas will require the higher SPF. Particularly if you intend to spend a lot of time outside.

Mountain Protection

Whether skiing or hiking, SPF 50 is needed at all times, even if you don't have sensitive skin. The higher elevations mean you're closer to the sun. This is especially true in the winter. Like the ocean, the sun's rays absorb into your skin and reflect off of the snow's surface.

SPF 100

Over the last few years, manufacturers took the initiative to increase the safety of those who ventured into the sun on a regular basis. They came up with a protection cream with a rating of SPF 100. Though it seems like it would stop 100 percent of the UV rays, it actually doesn't.

SPF 100 only stops 99 percent of these rays. That's just one percentage point more than SPF 50. Though they don't provide total protection, creams that are SPF 100 tend to cost more. Overall, it's best to stick with a cream with a rating of SPF 50.

No matter where you go, sunscreen needs to be part of your outdoor equipment. Its protective elements block nearly all the UV rays and minimizes the risk of sunburn or skin cancer. In the end, the use of this daily sun protection can increase the elasticity of your skin so it remains smooth and nearly wrinkle-free for a longer period.